Posted on 9/07/10 09:41 PM
First off, here?s a bit of background info for orientation purposes. Lebanon is a film by an Israeli filmmaker set entirely inside a tank during the Lebanese War. The writer/director Samuel Maoz made this film to comment on his real life experience serving inside a tank during this war as a young man. I take it he didn?t much like the experience. The film opens on a still shot of an endless field of sunflowers and lingers there for a moment. This is the last time the camera will be outside the tank until the film?s end. After a moment we are in a dank hole, see a portal door close above us, and remain sealed in, just like the main characters, for the rest of the journey. The inside of the tank is dark and grimy. There is an inch of standing water on the ground. It?s claustrophobic, uncomfortable. Any view of the outside world we get from this point forward comes through the gunner?s scope. Everything we see is seen behind crosshairs. The world has, from this point forward, ceased to exist as anything more than a potential target. The four men that we are introduced to inside of the tank have no further purpose but to move and shoot on command. They are less people and more pieces of a machine; necessary components of a weapon in the Israeli army. Conceptually, the film is very strong. Its conceit is unique enough to be intriguing, and it is pulled off strongly enough to create a strong sense of place and mood. You feel dirty, you feel enclosed; you really get put in the same place as the soldiers and feel like you?re experiencing the war right alongside them. Thematically, the script knows what it wants to accomplish and sets everything up towards achieving that goal. Unfortunately, a strong concept isn?t enough to completely anchor a film. Somewhere along the line good characters and good story are going to need to come into play. And for Lebanon, they never do...
Full review at: http://www.templeofreviews.com/2010/09/lebanon-2009.html